MiS Preprint Repository

We have decided to discontinue the publication of preprints on our preprint server as of 1 March 2024. The publication culture within mathematics has changed so much due to the rise of repositories such as ArXiV ( that we are encouraging all institute members to make their preprints available there. An institute's repository in its previous form is, therefore, unnecessary. The preprints published to date will remain available here, but we will not add any new preprints here.

MiS Preprint

How cellular movement determines the collective force generated by the Dictyostelium discoideum slug

John Dallon and Hans Othmer


How the collective motion of cells in a biological tissue originates in the behavior of a collection of individuals, each of which responds to the chemical and mechanical signals it receives from neighbors, is still poorly understood. Here we study this question for a particular system, the slug stage of the cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum. We investigate how cells in the interior of a migrating slug can effectively transmit stress to the substrate and thereby contribute to the overall motive force. Theoretical analysis suggests necessary conditions on the behavior of individual cells, and computational results shed light on experimental results concerning the total force exerted by a migrating slug. The model predicts that only cells in contact with the substrate contribute to the translational motion of the slug. Since the model is not based specifically on the mechanical properties of Dictyostelium discoideum cells, the results suggest that this behavior will be found in many developing systems.

MSC Codes:
35Q80, 92B05
dictyostelium discoideum, cell movement, motive force, call based model, visco-elastic elements, migrating slug

Related publications

2004 Repository Open Access
JC Dallon and Hans G. Othmer

How cellular movement determines the collective force generated by the Dictyostelium discoideum slug

In: Journal of theoretical biology, 231 (2004) 2, pp. 203-222